Oct 3, 2016

Do You Value Your Job as a Homeschool Mom?

It's the beginning of a new homeschool year for us and we're already in the full swing of things.

Each new year, we start off slowly and really try to enjoy it.

On the first day, we pull out all the school books and supplies and sit together taking in all the sights and smells of our new things.

Come on now, you know you love the smell of new books, I sure do.

We try to enjoy our first week as much as possible and then proceed to do only a few subjects a day. By the second week, the kids are completing each subject and we continue to tweak our schedule.

When I first began homeschooling years ago, I somehow compartmentalized in my head the work I had to do as a homeschooler from the work I did as a mom and homemaker. I literally tried to bring the public school structure into my home. 

I began to notice that trying to live my life this way increased my frustration because I couldn't keep up with everything on my to-do list.

For the past nine years, my life has been focused on healing from our illness with chronic Lyme disease and homeschooling my children. Most everything else had to take a back seat and as a type A mom that was very difficult but I quickly realized that the most important thing for me to focus on was my children and family.

Last week while I was on the phone with my husband I began to express my frustration about not being able to get to my very long to-do list. As I explained to him that I've been busy homeschooling our son and daughter he interrupted with, "That's what you should be doing, that's your job and everything else is extra!"

Now I've been homeschooling for a long time, in fact, this is my 16th year, yet my husband's remark stopped me in my tracks and convicted me that my priorities were getting a little mixed up.

Aside from my homemaking responsibilities my priority is educating my children, teaching them and training them in all areas of life.

As my husband's words replayed in my mind I thought about why I felt the way I did and I wanted to ask you the same questions I asked myself. I'm just wondering if I'm in this alone. 

So here it is, do you value your job as a homeschool mom or do you feel like it's a burden? Are you frustrated because there are more items on your to-do list then you have time for? Are you frustrated because homeschooling is carving into the time you would prefer to use to do something else?

It's easy to get frustrated with the time limitations you have on any given day and then grow bitter because all your time is taken up trying to get through the Math lesson or the meltdowns that require character training.

I had to go back and remind myself of some of the lessons learned before and during my chronic illness. I had to once again step back and gain a more balanced perspective on my life and my work. 

Here are some of the things that came to mind.

1) Change your perspective.
As a Christian, I'm reminded that my employer is God. My job is to guide, teach, train, disciple, and discipline my children. If I view my responsibility as my primary work then I can keep things in proper perspective. 

If I had a 9 to 5 job I wouldn't be able to do whatever I want, when I want. The work I was hired to do would be my primary focus for the day. The same is true for a homeschool mom.

2) Prioritize homeschool hours and protect that time as much as possible.
Block out specific time on your planner for when you will focus on school lessons, read aloud time, or book work. By doing this you can focus your attention on your children and make sure that what you've planned is getting done.

3) Stop multi-tasking. 
Studies show that multi-tasking is actually not efficient and may even cause you to feel stressed out. You can never truly do a job to the best of your ability if you're trying to focus on multiple things at one time. Make a commitment to focus on one task at a time and give your best to that job. When you've completed it, then move on to the next job.

4) Schedule outside activities and doctor's appointments after school hours. 
If you must leave the house when you would normally have school scheduled then just flip the schedule around and do school in the afternoon. You could also schedule a 4 day school week and leave one day open for running errands, going to the doctor and having social activities. Purposeful scheduling minimizes frustration and allows for homeschool to take priority.

5) Pursue your interests right along with your children. 
Sometimes, as moms, we feel frustrated when we're giving of ourselves all the time at the expense of enjoying things that we like to do. There are seasons in life when you can barely get a shower much less spend time on your interests. Those seasons will pass quickly even though each day may feel like it drags on forever.

By keeping a schedule or writing a list of everything you do in a day, you could visually see where you might be able to squeeze out time to do something you enjoy.

Many of our interests can be enjoyed right along side of our children. Include your children in completing tasks around the house. When your children write, you can write. When you're children are doing art you can work on your crafts or hobbies. They'll love having you sit with them, spending time together and creating.

Enjoy the time you have with your children because they really do grow up fast. 

It may not seem like it but honestly, before you know it they'll be heading off to college. I can hardly believe I have 2 adult children and will graduate my baby girl in 2 years.

So, I encourage you to step back and evaluate what you're thinking about your God given role and amazing job as a homeschool mom. You are so important to your family and the work that you're doing is so valuable.

So I challenge you to do this with me. Let's change our perspective, we can change our schedule if we need to and we definitely need to make a choice to enjoy the time we have at home with our children.

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